What can be said of a game the New York Islanders never would have won a year ago, much less against the defending champions?
It's not 2008-09 anymore. Malkin, Crosby looked like they were in a war after this game and they came out on the losing end.
Which brings us to an actual blog entry about today's win and the 2009-10 New York Islanders.
Last year New York led two of the three Coliseum games entering the third against Pittsburgh and finally beat them in a February shootout in Dan Bylsma's debut at a time they were struggling badly in tenth place.
The 2009-10 New York Islanders are getting better, with seemingly several players due to break out or showing marked statistical improvement. They wore down the Pens today (Isles played third game in five days) who got an excellent performance from backup Brent Johnson as Philadelphia did from Brian Boucher on Wednesday in a tough loss where for about forty minute they were the better team.
In terms of last season the calender date would be 12/6/08 or twenty six games.
2009-10: 26 gp w 10-9-7 points 27 goals 71 allowed 78
2008-09: 26 gp w 10-14-2 points 22 goals 68 allowed 89
If folks recall this was after Joey MacDonald was NHL third start of the month for November 2008 so don't blame the goaltending for goals allowed so quickly considering some softies Roloson (who stole Toronto game x5) and Biron have allowed this season at times.
After twenty six games a year ago 12/6/08 New York was already into it's season ending freefall going 0-4-1 from 11/26-/12/6 then going 0-7-1 which effectively ended any hope for a playoff spot, followed by 2-8-2 stretch which put them in contention only for more ping pong balls.
New York is currently fourteen-sixteenth in goals scored with some games in hand, tied with two other teams for a club that has lived in the NHL basement the last two seasons in terms of scoring and this mostly without Weight and most of last years veteran scorers gone.
As for today, sure Roloson let up a terrible goal and a big rebound for the Penguins second goal, but Johnson at the other end kept making saves. For an Islander team that struggles with third period leads they simply found an extra gear in the third and skated the Pens into the Coliseum ice.
Bergenheim beyond his goal where Johnson finally made a mistake and did not cut the angle was just flying and winning pucks, his reaction on Pens second goal indicated he did not have Matt Cooke but he made up for it and more.
Any more doubt Josh Bailey beyond his open net rebound goal was winning pucks all day? What's going to happen if this team ever finds a scoring right wing for him to get him the puck in motion or Jeff Tambellini for that matter with this ninety six point player in 2007-08?
Freddy Meyer had two assist and with about two minutes left, stripped Malik and made a fantastic play to clear the zone. Hunter again was a warrior and unlike last year is piling on the points he has to give them.
Tavares gwg and some excellent individual efforts.
Thompson-Park-Jackman checked Pens into ice and # 11 drew the instigator on Staal which was poor call to give him extra ten.
Park-Sim crashing net or hitting post, career records say both are due to finish.
Okposo is also due, Nielsen needs one to get his confidence, almost got it shorthanded but solid at five on five. For this team to make a push north well above five hundred which it will take for a playoff spot he has to get his points/goals.
Jack Hillen had two penalties and his high stick may have been fatal but pk did the job against struggling Pens powerplay. He also stepped it up in the third. Gervais stepped in front of a few shots.
Sutton again a very strong game beyond penalty, Witt was in position.
That's five games against Atlantic, all one goal games New York could have easily been 5-0 in with all these kids.
That's twenty one out of twenty six games they have been in position to win with very few overall poor games.
So far, it's not last year yet in terms of injuries, not much depth on defense but so far this group seems to be getting stronger and more confident. It's not waiting for Sillinger, Comrie, Guerin and even currently Doug Weight to get healthy.
Note-Sutton groin injury to be reaccessed/MacDonald recalled.
So far, so good. A lot of signs indicate the team should continue to improve and progress.
Associated Press & Pittsburgh Post Gazette & Pittsburgh Tribune Review recaps New York's 3-2 win over the Penguins.
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